Giving Thanks

On this Thanksgiving day I’m grateful for my family, all the advantages I’ve been given, and all those who have helped me over the years. Some of them are gone now, and I miss them, but I won’t forget them.

There’s probably someone in your life who helped you, take some time today to remember them and then do your best to help someone else.

Americans now drink more craft beer than Bud

If you had any doubts that craft beer was a growing market, the fact that Americans now drink more craft beer than Bud should dispel them.

Note that this is all craft beer vs. one beer from a megabrewer, and craft  beer is still a niche market. Nevertheless, it’s past the point where it can be safely ignored. People are willing to spend more for beer that has flavors mainstream pale lagers lack and producing the same bland product year after year isn’t going to work quite as well as it has in the past.

How Craft Beer Fails Its Female Fan Base

I have to admit I don’t pay a lot of attention to craft beer advertising, relying mostly on reviews and recommendations from fellow enthusiasts. So How Craft Beer Fails Its Female Fan Base was something of a surprise. Yes, women are a minority in the craft beer market but they are a growing minority that isn’t necessarily looking for fruity, low-calorie beers.

Further thoughts on alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby

A frequent question that comes up in connection with alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby is “why him, why now?” especially since he’s hardly the first or only celebrity with a private life that is totally unlike his public persona.

It’s an interesting question. We’ve seen filmmakers like Roman Polanski and Woody Allen pilloried for their antics with underage girls, yet they both continue to work and even attract their fair share of supporters. With them at least we can manage to separate the work from the person (to varying degrees – I refuse to watch or pay for a movie by either of them). Why can’t we do the same with alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby?

Here’s how I see it. Bill Cosby’s body of work, especially in recent years, is Bill Cosby. There is no separation between the comedian, the actor, the social commentator and the man. It’s all him. If you applaud the comedian (as was done at a recent show in Florida) you’re also applauding the alleged serial rapist. I can’t do that. Even if he eventually admits to this, it’s too late for me. Why? Because of the damage. There are women who have had their lives ruined as a result of his actions and no amount of apology is going to make up for that.

And since we’re on that subject, let’s talk about those women. I know that there are many voices accusing them of lying, profiteering and more. But here’s the thing. First of all, why would these women lie? The statute of limitations on these alleged crimes has long since passed. There is no possibility of him being prosecuted. None at all. Although there have been lawsuits, they’ve been settled privately out of court. There’s no reason to believe that anyone will profit from suing alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby.

What’s most troubling about the accusers is this: why do we automatically cast doubt on women who say they’ve been raped? It’s not just this case, every woman who accuses a man of raping her will be subjected to the most vile questioning in court in an attempt to discredit her. Unsurprisingly, women hesitate to press charges knowing their entire life will be subjected to ridicule. Who wouldn’t? We as a society should be ashamed of this behavior but this case proves that we’re not. And it’s not just “men’s rights activists”. Alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby received a standing ovation the other night and you can bet that it wasn’t just men doing the applauding. What does this sat about us?

As I said earlier, I was a fan from childhood. I was disappointed when the news of his martial infidelities first surfaced but I convinced myself it wasn’t unusual and besides, his wife stood by him. Of course, she’s still with him. It’s none of my business (or anyone else’s) why she is, that’s her decision to make. But a pattern of drugging and raping women isn’t something you can just overlook or wave away as “boys will be boys”. There’s nothing to make him admit anything other than his own conscience. Perhaps some day, he will listen to it.

When downtown Rochester was a destination

Younger people may not realize it, but downtown Rochester was once the place to go, whether to shop or just visit. It still was when I came to Rochester in 1975. We knew that there were malls in Greece and out in Victor but they were far away and didn’t seem to offer anything we couldn’t find at Sibley’s, McCurdy’s or in Midtown.

But once the malls in Henrietta and Irondequoit were built starting in the 80s, downtown lost its charm and ability to draw visitors from the suburbs. By the 90s both stores had been sold, renamed and the downtown stores closed forever. By the time my job took me to downtown, Midtown was a shadow of its former self, with empty stores outnumbering the open ones. I haven’t been in a department store in years, and visits to a mall are limited to the Apple Store.

Midtown and McCurdy’s has been mostly torn down and replaced with some nondescript buildings housing some generic company. There are plans to renovate the tower section, which was stripped down to its steel girders. I’m sure it will be nice, as such things go, but it won’t be like it was and perhaps could have been.

When Your Comic Hero Is an Alleged Rapist

Bill Cosby was the first comedian I knew of as a comedian, not just some old guy telling corny jokes that my parents found funny. Like Doug McIntyre, my friends and I listened to everything that he did; I still use his “voopa voopa” sound to describe cutting wood with a hand saw.

But at some point, even us diehard fans have to deal with the fact that he is an alleged serial rapist.

I remember hearing about his marital infidelities and not thinking much about them. But repeated stories, all very similar, by women going back as far as 1969 of being drugged and raped are demanding of more reflection.

Cosby has been a frequent social critic, particularly in recent years, but has not shed a spotlight on his own behavior. It’s time for that to change. It’s time for Bill Cosby to confess and make amends to those whose lives he has permanently damaged. Then he needs to go away. He’s had a life and a career, two things denied to the women he raped. The world owes him nothing more.